How to design an effective training plan and select the perfect trainer

In today’s ever-changing business landscape, investing in employee development is vital for organizational success. To ensure the effectiveness of training programs in enhancing employees’ attitudes, skills, and knowledge, careful planning is essential. In this article, we’ll explore insights from Kristi Suits, Recruitment Partner at Smartful, and Helen Pärli, CEO and Talent Partner at Smartful, on designing a training program that delivers tangible results.

Step 1: Clarifying the Need 

The first step in crafting a training plan is identifying the specific needs. These may arise due to changes in the company’s structure or to support new managers or teams in developing essential skills. For maximum effectiveness, it’s crucial to have a clear picture of the attitudes, skills, and knowledge that should change as a result of the training. The ASK model can help with this process:

  • A – Which attitudes will change during the training? 
  • S – What skills will the participants develop as a result of the training? 
  • K – What knowledge will the training provide to the employee?

Remember, training should not only focus on developing skills or knowledge but also on influencing participants’ attitudes. Actually, it is attitudes that are most influenced by the trainer in shorter training courses. Based on the experience they got from the training, participants will assess the topics covered, which in turn will influence their future contact with the subject. 

For more information on training needs mapping, see our article “How to analyse and map your employees’ training needs?

Step 2: Designing the Training Plan 

A well-designed training plan is built upon identifying concrete training needs. Apart from using the ASK model, asking the question “Why?” is crucial. Once the purpose of the training is clear, relevant topics can be identified. Additionally, it’s essential to assess the participants’ familiarity with the tools and models used in the company. This ensures that the training aligns with their existing knowledge and provides a basis for their daily work.

In addition, consider the target audience and their existing knowledge about the topic. Tailoring the training to the specific needs of participants, such as dividing a larger group into smaller ones by skill level or combining different groups for teamwork exercises, can enhance its impact.

It is also crucial to discuss the training methods when crafting the training plan. Consider whether case studies, discussions, and reflection exercises should be incorporated or if a lecture format would be more suitable. The choice of method will depend on factors such as the size of the group and the specific topics to be covered. In general, a participative approach is most effective, allowing participants to engage directly with the subjects to reinforce their knowledge and skills. Therefore, we highly recommend making the training as practical as possible, ensuring participants can apply what they learn directly to real-world scenarios. This hands-on approach will enhance the overall training experience and maximize its impact on the participants’ professional development.

Step 3: Choosing a Trainer

When choosing the right trainer for your training program, several factors come into play. Primarily, it’s essential to consider the trainer’s personality, competence, and reputation in the field. Take the time to thoroughly investigate the trainer by exploring online sources and engaging with the community to gather insights from others who have worked with them.

Look into the trainer’s previous experiences and the feedback they have received from past clients. A trainer’s certification is also a valuable indicator of their expertise. Moreover, it is crucial to assess how well the trainer understands your industry and the specific needs of your organization. For instance, if you need a training course on recruitment for a team in the manufacturing sector, it is vital that the trainer has prior experience in the manufacturing industry to provide valuable insights into sector-specific practices.

Once you’ve established contact with a potential trainer, don’t hesitate to ask questions and see whether their style and working practices align with your organization’s culture. Assess their communication skills and suitability as a speaker for the target group you intend to train. Additionally, make sure of their understanding of your company’s or team’s needs and their ability to offer tailored solutions.

We believe in the power of personalization in training. Therefore, it’s crucial for the trainer to demonstrate their commitment to meeting your organization’s specific requirements. By choosing a trainer who matches your organization and offers customized solutions, you can ensure a successful and impactful training program that leaves a lasting positive impression on your team.

Step 4: Post-Training Activities 

The training process doesn’t end with the last session; it extends to post-training activities, including feedback collection and analysis. These activities are crucial in evaluating the effectiveness of the training program and making improvements for future sessions.

When gathering feedback, it’s beneficial to separate the different aspects of the program, such as the content of the training, the trainer’s personality and methods, the training environment, and any potential future training needs. This approach provides a clear overview of the results and helps identify areas of strength and areas that have room for development.

Consider using targeted questions to gather feedback, such as:

  • How satisfied were you with the content of the training?
  • How did you rate the complexity of the topics/materials covered? (too easy, just right, too difficult)
  • Were you satisfied with the training style of the trainer? Were the methods used supporting your learning process?
  • How did you feel about the environment in which the training took place (the training rooms)?

Moreover, encourage participants to share any questions that might have been left unaddressed during the training or topics they believe could be covered in future sessions.

After the training, it’s essential to assess whether the objectives set for the program were successfully achieved. Communication between the trainer and the client plays an important role in this phase. Reflecting on the results together enables them to define a post-training plan of action. This plan should support participants in implementing the newly acquired attitudes, expectations, and knowledge into their daily work.

In case any additional training needs were identified during the training, these should be taken into account when developing future training plans. This proactive approach ensures that the training program evolves and continuously meets the changing needs of your organization and team.


Investing in employee development is a long-term process, but with a strategic approach, you can achieve the desired results effectively. When designing a training plan, it is crucial to prioritize your people and identify specific training needs. Collaborating with the right trainer plays a significant role as they create the foundation for your employees to reach their true potential.

At Smartful, we firmly believe in the power of personalized and strategic training approaches. By thoroughly understanding your organization’s needs through proper preparation, we create training programs tailored to your business or team. Our commitment to practical training ensures that essential attitudes, skills, and knowledge are not only passed on but also strongly built in and applied in day-to-day operations.

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